How to de-stinkify a musty bassinet
October 31, 2007 10:12 AM   Subscribe

We're expecting our second child in the next couple of weeks, and I (foolishly) stored the co-sleeper/bassinet that we used with our first in the basement for the last two years. Now it smells musty. I need as benign a solution to the odor as possible. I don't want to put a newborn in a musty bassinet to sleep, but I also don't want to use harsh chemicals on something where she'll spend several hours a night (fingers crossed). What will work best? Will one of those passive odor absorbers like an air sponge, or that German metal thingie be sufficient, or do I need to use something that I actually apply to the surface fabric?
posted by SobaFett to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Your profile doesn't say where you are, so I don't know how likely the "sunshine" recommendation will work, but sunshine for everything you can't wash.

Wipeable things -- basket weave, metal, etc. -- use a mix of vinegar and water. The vinegar smell will go away, but it will clear up anything causing the smell -- unless it's deep down in there.
posted by Gucky at 10:24 AM on October 31, 2007

Vodka in water will remove the musty smell. It will not leave the bassinet smelling of booze. It will not hurt baby. Just spritz everything down and leave to dry in the sunlight if possible.

I have recommended the vodka and water solution in every de-stink thread. But it works like nobody's business.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

There are certain chemicals you can use which will not endanger your baby. Alcohol, as mentioned above, will not hurt your baby, because it will evaporate completely long before the baby hits the bassinet. Vinegar is another, as is soda (though that one won't evaporate on its own, you'll have to wipe it clean).

As for the cloth, washing it in a standard washing machine with a very small amount of "no perfumes/no additives" detergent will clean it. Hanging it in the sun to dry will complete the process.
posted by fake at 10:37 AM on October 31, 2007

Why not play it safe and buy a new bassinet? Isn't $100 or so worth knowing that there is nothing around this situation that may cause a problem?

I am of the 'babies are tougher than people give them credit for' camp- but I've seen enough Extreme Home Makeovers about mold making people sick that I'd never put that bassinet near my newborn in your situation, clean or not.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:41 AM on October 31, 2007 [3 favorites]

Try wiping it down with a vinegar and water solution and then drying it in the sun - if there's sun where you are. Good luck!
posted by Lynsey at 10:45 AM on October 31, 2007

First, congrats!

I second the suggestion to get a new bassinet. That musty smell isn't just a smell: it's the result of mold. Infants are especially susceptible to mold. Even if it triggers only a minor allergy, a stuffy baby is a miserable baby, as I'm sure you know.

That site has some cleaning tips, too, if you want to keep it. Not sure it's worth it, but that's up to you.

Good luck!
posted by sondrialiac at 11:02 AM on October 31, 2007

Bleach for mold and musty smells.
posted by caddis at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2007

Vinegar works extremely well for killing mold and bacteria. Bleach decomposes into toxic gases, like chlorine.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2007

Honestly, I'd just buy a new mattress. Tiny lungs in a body that can't move itself if uncomfortable isn't worth it.
posted by 45moore45 at 1:32 PM on October 31, 2007

Ditto-ing replacement. Fungus/mold is hard to get rid of deeper than the surfaces, and can be quite dangerous.
posted by anadem at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2007

and then the chlorine wafts away. don't fear the bleach. it is one of the most effective surface disinfectants and it decomposes rapidly leaving the surface clean. it is a staple in day care centers to disinfect surfaces. a spray with hydrogen peroxide followed by a spray of dilute vinegar works very well as a disinfectant also. bleach is traditional for mold and mildew, but this peroxide and vinegar combo is very potent, and quite safe. wash any covers in bleach and if the mattress is not waterproof and thus may have mold inside just buy a new one as they are cheap.
posted by caddis at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2007

new mattress. absolutely do not consider anything else.
posted by taff at 3:09 PM on October 31, 2007

I agree with trash it, get a new one.
posted by wafaa at 4:34 PM on October 31, 2007

By all means, please please get a new one. The baby's health (and maybe even life!) is worth much more than x dollars.
posted by Xere at 8:10 PM on October 31, 2007

Don't trash the mattress entirely; there is still probably another use you can make of it. But buy a new one for the baby. The old mattress, if cleaned a bit and covered with an old blanket, would probably make an excellent doggy bed.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:01 AM on November 1, 2007

My baby has allergies so I would say to play it safe and get another crib mattress. They are really cheap and even if you buy a new one, I would go through the processes of cleaning and airing mentioned by some of the other posters to remove any dirt, dust or chemical residue left from the factory.
posted by msbaby at 8:16 AM on November 2, 2007

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